Rock Drill

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

(Digital Download - Vertigo #)

Review by Donald A. Guarisco

This album, the final effort by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, finds the band ‘s energy at a low ebb. In fact, Alex Harvey had originally intended to leave the group after a lengthy hospitalization for liver problems but was talked into returning to the group for another album. The resulting album feels like an afterthought. All the hallmarks of the group's sound are there (dramatic arrangements, glam-rock guitar firepower, odd covers) but it often feels like the group is going through the motions: "Rock ‘N' Roll" is a surprisingly cliched tune that lacks any distinctive or memorable riffs and the generic boogie of "Who Murdered Sex?" lacks the ribald spirit that a song with such a title should have. Another problem with Rock Drill is that it lacks the dramatic shifts of sonic style that characterized outings like Tomorrow Belongs To Me: the band forsakes the intriguing cabaret and big-band elements they had toyed with in the past in favor of a straight-ahead rock sound that robs the band of much of its personality. However, the album does include a few worthwhile moments for fans: the title track is a pounding rocker that sports a committed vocal performance from Harvey and "Water Beastie" starts with an odd, tribal-styled chant that segues into a quirky fusion of reggae and hard rock. However, these bright spots can't make up for the overall uninspired feel of Rock Drill and, as a result, this album can only be recommended to hardcore Alex Harvey devotees.

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